Buffalo Innovation

| No Comments

Giving court staff, providers chance to connect - Business First of Buffalo:

In Family Court and in matrimonial cases, litigants are often referred to a nonprofit organization to complete a judge's order. But while courts often successfully link the litigant and service provider, legal advocates, lawyers and judges are not always aware of all of the programs available in the area.

So Bridget O'Connell, chair of the Bar Association of Erie County's matrimonial and family law committee, and Kristin Arcuri, chair of the bar's practice and procedure in Family Court committee, worked together to create a services fair where those in the legal community could meet providers and learn about their services. The event was held earlier this month at BAEC headquarters.

"There seemed to be a call from attorneys to know more about the agencies their clients are already engaged with" and to learn about agencies to link clients with, said O'Connell, who is a partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP.

Arcuri, a partner at Watson Bennett Colligan Johnson & Schechter LLP, said even though there are informal phone trees where attorneys call each other for agency suggestions, the fair allowed for a "meet-the-face-to-the-name" opportunity.

"This event included a lot of people we (already) deal with. It puts a face to the agencies and to the voices on the phone (who) we're talking to a lot," said Jim Kreuzer, a senior law guardian.

He recommended that the first-ever fair should be held at least annually because providers often create or add to programs.

For example, Gateway-Longview Inc. has added a supervised visitation program as well as a new site on the East side. The nonprofit also has individual hands-on parenting classes and kinship programs, the latter for noncustodial parents who are the primary caretakers for minors.

"We were educating law guardians who heard about particulars of our programs, such as how we provide transportation," explained Carolyne DeFranco, administrative director of community service.

The event was also a conduit for agencies to learn about other service providers.

Even though the Family Justice Center of Erie County Inc. has 12 agencies under one roof for "one-stop shopping," the center does not handle stand-alone child issues, so the fair helped staff learn where else to refer clients with specific children concerns, said Alicia Laible, a program developer.

"It's a terrific opportunity for lawyers and judges to learn about services in the community, which is absolutely necessary to help meet the needs of the litigants that we see in Family Court as well as in matrimonial cases," said Sharon Townsend, administrative judge for the 8th Judicial District.

After an introduction by Townsend, Judge James Dillon and Janice Rosa moderated a Q-and-A session.

Another services fair, focused on children's issues, will be held in May. For more information, contact either Arcuri at 852-3540 or O'Connell at 849-1333.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Leonard E. Sienko, Jr. published on January 29, 2007 11:20 AM.

Law Comix was the previous entry in this blog.

Ending the Gauntlet is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.11